Naked Hollywood: Weegee's Exposed, Twisted Stars and Wannabes

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Photojournalist extraordinaire Arthur Fellig aka Weegee earned his fame shooting magnificent, gruesome crime scenes and New York City life of the ’30s and ’40s. In 1947, he relocated to Hollywood, instantly forming a dislike for all things celebrity. He was prolific. He was disdainful. He distorted his paparazzi shot of Marilyn Monroe, turning up her nose into a snout. His shots of crowds at movie premieres echoed his iconic Their First Murder, a photograph of children ravenous for a gawk at a homicide victim. He shot the dream-filled urban landscape, the glitter-smothered aspiring-movie-star go-go dancers, Hollywood’s behind-the-scenes and… Hollywood’s behinds. It was a love-hate kind of fetish.

Before moving back to “civilization” (aka New York City) in 1957, Weegee had amassed quite the zeitgeisty LA oeuvre. Now on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles through February 27, here are some of these artifacts, courtesy of MOCA, the International Center of Photography and the Matthew Marks Gallery of New York.

Weegee, [Marilyn Monroe], ca. 1960, International Center of Photography, Bequest of Wilma Wilcox, 1993, © Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

Weegee, The Gold Painted Stripper, ca. 1950, International Center of Photography, Bequest of Wilma Wilcox, 1993, © Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

Weegee, City Hall, Los Angeles, Cal., ca. 1953-55, International Center of Photography, Bequest of Wilma Wilcox, 1993, © Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

Weegee, Liz, ca. 1950, International Center of Photography, Bequest of Wilma Wilcox, 1993, © Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

Weegee, Hollywood Premiere, ca. 1951, International Center of Photography, Bequest of Wilma Wilcox, 1993, © Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

Weegee, The Stars Look Down, ca. 1951, International Center of Photography, Bequest of Wilma Wilcox, 1993, © Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

Weegee, As Is: Carson Drive & Wilshire Blvd., ca. 1950, International Center of Photography, Bequest of Wilma Wilcox, 1993, © Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

Weegee, Beauty Contest, ca. 1953, International Center of Photography, Bequest of Wilma Wilcox, 1993, © Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

Weegee, As Is: Hollywood Blvd. & Highland Ave., ca. 1950, International Center of Photography, Bequest of Wilma Wilcox, 1993, © Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

Weegee, Virginia Mayo, ca. 1948, International Center of Photography, Bequest of Wilma Wilcox, 1993, © Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

Unidentified Photographer [Weegee photographing mannequins in LA Camera Exchange’s window display], 1951, International Center of Photography, Bequest of Wilma Wilcox, 1993, © Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

Weegee, Woman Driver, May 25, 1950, International Center of Photography, Bequest of Wilma Wilcox, 1993, © Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

Weegee, [Vampira in Chanel No. 5 perfume bottle], ca. 1950, International Center of Photography, Bequest of Wilma Wilcox, 1993, © Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

Weegee, Objet d’art, 1951, International Center of Photography, Bequest of Wilma Wilcox, 1993, © Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

Weegee, Wardrobe dept., ca.1950, International Center of Photography, Bequest of Wilma Wilcox, 1993, © Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

Unidentified Photographer [Weegee among wax heads of celebrities and leaders], 1951, International Center of Photography, Bequest of Wilma Wilcox, 1993, © Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

Weegee with Mel Harris, Naked Hollywood, 1955, © Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images